ARTIST: Curelight Wounds
RELEASE: Wearing The Strings EP
RELEASE DATE: November 1st 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Brooklyn based noisy lo-fi aficionados ‘Curelight Wounds’ unleash a monumental brand new four track EP to the masses entitled ‘Wearing The Strings’ on November 1st 2016. The EP brings with it a mixed bag of influential sounds that includes surging shoegaze, driving post punk and a splattering of lo-fi frequencies that collectively are guaranteed to stir the deepest of melancholic feelings from the most introverted amongst the underground gazing fraternity.
‘Wearing The Strings’ opens up with its title track, gloriously held within a turbulent maelstrom of angry noise and driving melodious bass frequencies. ‘Wearing The Strings’ weaves and soars effortlessly through layers of screaming feedback and pounding drums as its vocals swim through a deep dark sea of lo-fi brilliance. Up next, (the very punk like) ‘Sail It Away’ is awash in reverberation as its brilliant bass line undulates between the soaring guitars and the pounding drums whilst all the while being straddled by a repetitious vocal progression. ‘Sail It Away’ is absolutely magnificent and probably my favourite track on this entire release.
The EP’s penultimate track is a work of art. ‘Salted Hour’ drives headlong into the sonic ether on a skittish percussive pattern brilliantly underscored by weaving post-punk inspired bass frequencies and a raging cacophony of thunderous reverberation. Again, the lo-fi vocals cut an unwavering wedge through proceedings as the swirling accompanying guitars perform whammy bar theatrics as they unleash a wave of beautiful noise. The final track on this impressive release is ‘All In Red’. A melodious affair filled with snaking bass lines and addictive lead guitar progressions that weave in and out of that sublime vocal take with ease. Reminiscent at times to early ‘Cure’ or Boston’s own ‘Swirlies’, ‘All In Red’ is a fitting ending to a bloody marvellous EP.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: Total Gaze
RELEASE: We Need More Condos
RELEASE DATE: September 13 2016
The intelligently and humorously named We Need More Condos is the debut album from Minnesota’s own Total Gaze, a band who sport the term post-shoegaze… Which is interesting both ways; whether you believe it to be a genre or not… But it’s getting off topic to debate genres and sub-genres and how many pedals you need to qualify as a specific type of band; the album evokes a lot of different genres however, including post-punk, shoegaze, ambient and dream rock, just to name a few. Total Gaze juggle these sounds into an impressive and tightly knit type of musical odyssey that sounds a lot let less clean than the average ‘modern shoegaze’ album; bordering on what some would call ‘garage’ and touching on the realms of the whimsically dirty musical genre known as ‘lo-fi’.
We Need More Condos by Total Gaze
We Need More Condos begins with ‘Solid Gold’ which embodies more of the bands gutter sound than its core shoegaze sound. Noisy, unfiltered guitars are coupled with percussive-heavy drums and a low-key bass tone to create a neat, albeit slight, garage rock tune. The influence of shoegaze and post-punk seeps in on the second half of the track, with the song maintaining its garage undertones while embracing an alternative style of guitar riff. An interlude (one of three on the album) features some nice cricket noises but serves no true purpose. One of the greatest tracks on the album is the lo-fi, amazing ‘Don’t Ask’ which remains brilliant in its simplicity. The song utilizes the bands previous garage guitar sound with a fantastically downbeat shoegaze inspired tune. The chorus, in particular, should be praised for its simple breakdown style of song writing and drumming; drawing a fantastic and easily accessible line in the sand between the sounds of shoegaze and the rough, crunchy punk sound. ‘Facing Inward’ plays out in a similar fashion; this time the band sound more up tempo with shaking maraca percussion and brighter guitar sounds. The vocals display influence from no-wave New York yelling and screaming, purposefully distanced from the rest of the mix in a way that does nothing but favours for the type of music the band strut.
‘Interlude 2’ sits warmly between ‘Facing Inward’ and the genius ‘On Fire’, which furthers the band sound. One particular fantastic piece of song writing and vocal delivery is the ‘oh wo, oh wo, oh, wo wo!’ which leads into easily the best chorus and outro on the entire album. This tight sound is perhaps the closest the band get too what you would call ‘post-shoegaze’ with its obvious sound blending at a very downtempo point. Couple this with the sketchy, murmured lyrics and vocals that are still stationed underneath the distorted guitars and rattling drums. Halfway through the song I thought the band had turned the direction of the sound around against themselves, but this interlude style passage of music that sits before one of the chorus’s suits the entire song with a few more listens. ‘Interlude 3’ plays out as an airy-FX filled conversation with a voice drowned in reverb and radio static. It is probably the only Interlude that really and truly alters the context of the album when listened to it in its entirety. A post-punk anthem ‘Sauna Sweet’ follows in a cleaner, much more modern sounding way. While this song may not be quite as compelling as others, it showcases some fantastic performances and features a neat guitar solo/ riff in the second half of the song. Similarly the vocals reach a shaky/louder style that seemed more drowned out by instruments on previous tracks. ‘Television’ opens with an indie style pattern of guitar riff followed by drum beats; this is however drowned out by a fully-fledged piece of shoegaze instrumentation. While it sets up some nice instrumentation and a perhaps more colourful sound than some of the previous ‘heavier’ tracks, ‘Television’ never really fully showcases the band’s sound and song writing skill to its full extent as many of the other tracks do. And while it is not a bad song by any means it’s position on the album and its contextual weight (comparing it to the bands other songs) means that ‘Television’ doesn’t shape up to the heights of the majority of the album.
We Need More Condos is refreshing without seeming avant-garde, fun without seeming childish and intellectual without ever coming across as pretentious. Ultimately there are a couple of ways to listen to the album. One, you can listen to it without any context; instead just for pure listening and interest. This way is rewarding and ultimately shows off and flaunts the bands greatest strengths while simultaneously travelling from track to track. The second, perhaps deeper, way of listening to We Need More Condos is the contextual and conceptual way. This entails asking what ‘modern’ style shoegaze sounds like; the answer being quite different to that of the sound of Total Gaze. And while this album is by no means the most experimentally-history advancing piece of shoegaze music to present itself for a modern audience, it is one that should be appreciated and applauded. So with the clean crisp sound of shoegaze adding to the contextual side of We Need More Condos, the album can be easily listened to as a step away from clichés and distant, echoed sounds that at times borderline completely on ambient music for other bands. Of course, We Need More Condos will not be for all audiences, and with the aforementioned ‘second way’ of listening to consider, it also will not be for all shoegaze lovers. At times the desperate and distanced style of vocals will sound too punk-ish and garage for some listeners, while the guitars and musical arrangements may be enough for others to steer away from the band.
We Need More Condos is, however (albeit not for all) a recommended listen. The sounds and songs fit well together and pan out from the pure alt-rock/garage sound of ‘Solid Gold’ to the sheer post-punk and dream style tones of songs like ‘On Fire’. The band present a wild and tightly garage blend of the alternative, ‘high’ side of town, and the dreamy gutter; drawing an elegant and talented musical line in the sand. They achieve so through the avenues of performance, production and sound.
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Jenny Besetzt
RELEASE: Tender Madness
RELEASE DATE: 15th July 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Friends Records
Tender Madness is a full length album by North Carolina’s Jenny Besetzt, a group who uses fast tempo in contrast with dark sounds to create deep and vast post-punk that sounds as if it was conceived at the beginning of the post-punk era, but was recorded much, much later. Over the course of eight tracks the band do little to confront the listener; an intelligent and crafty move… Instead they pull their music back from distinct definition and throw very few punches. You’re probably thinking that’s an insult, but it’s very much the opposite. Modern post-punk bands try so very hard for sounds and songs to be noticed… They throw soundscape after soundscape, turn instruments up louder, sing the lyrics in Japanese, play with their guitars not plugged into an amp and what not just so the audience, or the reviewer, says something like ‘this album is really in your face’ or ‘there is a lot going on in this album’. Sure they may be compliments, but when so many bands do it, it’s refreshing to hear a post-punk outfit sketch out songs and play them as they are… You know, without a million different guitar lines that all sound muted because the kick drum is turned up so loud.
Tender Madness by Jenny Besetzt
Tender Madness opens with ‘Authorless Speech’ a fantastically dark and shoegaze-inspired song that starts with slow and neat dream pop guitar after which fantastic double tap drums enter, but only distantly, in the background of the music. Through this brilliant piece of song writing, Jenny Besetzt begin to display the kind of musical colouring they fluently practice possess; firstly with the magnificent post-punk sound and then with the heavy, deep and baritone vocals, which brings the song onto a whole other level. Black As The Night purrs on a beautiful vocal, it's the albums entire vocal section that really holds everything together fantastically, especially the instrumental riffs and the beautiful underpinned synths. Such amazing synth tone may be heard on ‘Dorothy Everything’s Fine’, one of the albums true highlights; inspired by darkwave dance tracks and slow, classic post-punk guitar with bass that is drowned out by the aforementioned synth sounds during the chorus. Soft spoken, murmuring, deep vocals float heavily within the mix and the whole thing sounds like a true reflection of a style of sound that so many bands have tried to reach for but just end up sounding generic within. An average interlude follows, entitled ‘Kanizsa Triangle’ which is built predominantly around a choir like synth piece that plays softly with a few samples chipping in the background.
‘Lunar Talks’ opens with what sounds like a heavy metal riff, but eventually seeps back into a dream pop style tune. Over the course of the song, the band build up an alternative, dream like riff before splintering back into heavy, industrial sounds of the beginning giving the song a wild and spinning feeling. Perhaps the greatest song on the album is the playful, dreamy and utterly beautiful title track; its beginning is that of a loose, pictorial dream sketch, utilized through soaring synths and guitars. This song is the closest the band get to what some may refer to as ‘nostalgia’ and they do so with a kind of elegance and grace that never broaches textured simplicity. Eventually the song gets more downtempo and situates itself back in the light of the bands previous sound, but all the while it never exceeds its trance-like beauty and swift, easy appearance. Both Tender Madness & ‘The Rabbit’ acts as a sense of ease and ambience to the dark and heavy post-punk songs that preceded them. The Rabbit features lighter vocals, a brighter and more melodic sound courtesy of the indie-inspired guitar plucking and the pulsating soundscape of synth under the mix. One should also listen closely to the enthralling instrumental outro to the song, which crescendos into a fantastic math/post-rock inspired piece of guitar and drum playing. This tiny piece of music, enough to only fill a small portion of the song, is symbolism of absolute musical genius; subtle, engaging, alternative and absolutely captivating in its presentation.
And that’s that. But before you go and enjoy these songs on all their post-punk merit and dark but sweet musical textures, there is something more to be perceived about this album. Go out and find a modern post-punk album and I am sure that the band will go deeper and darker as the album goes on. Either that or they will chuck a lengthy, epic, synth and soundscape filled piece on the tail end of the release. Well, Jenny Besetzt have done neither of these. They’ve instead started with the dark and substantial alternative musings and drawn out the ending to something else, to something more; something that sounds more illuminated. With this in mind (and what was written before about how the band have presented the songs as they are) this album beats out on being another generic post-punk revival album; offering a neat conceptual reward for the listener by showcasing lighter songs on the end of the album. All in all the production and mixing are good and the performances are brilliant, but the real crux of the pleasures of this album are held within the band’s song writing ability, which at times sounds as though it is throwing a swift middle finger up to all the clichéd alternative bands out there. Where others would try too hard, they have not… And this shows itself simply and neatly through performance, concept and sound.
Tender Madness is available to buy/download right now from jennybesetzt.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: New Horror
RELEASE: Fruitless Search
RELEASE DATE: 27th August 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Soft Verse
Dirty, wild, echoing and beautiful… These are all words one would use to describe the EP Fruitless Search by lo-fi post-punk band New Horror. Their sound is one of untamed uniqueness, nestled somewhere near the punk-violence/garage sound of a band like 'Pigeon Religion' and the warped but dazzlingly emotive riffs of a band like 'Codeine' (but louder). Indeed, Fruitless Search will not be everybody’s cup of tea but, perhaps, this is an indication of the kind of alternative brilliance that can be heard on this EP. Slowcore, garage rock, noise, lo-fi, post-punk, dream rock and alternative rock are just SOME of the genres that get tossed around, from song to song and sound to sound. Funnily enough, most will mute the noise frequency of the band, complain about how distanced the vocals are or beg to know why the guitars are so *expletive word* loud; But honestly these songs and sounds are refreshing… In a technological age where everybody thinks their sound and image are their own, a band like this don’t even try to mount the task of being ‘original’, rather they stick to what they know, churn out rattling song after song after song and defy genres in the process.
Fruitless Search by New Horror
The ghostly, dark and garage infused post-punk song ‘Like a Child’ opens the EP with the bands noise-riddled guitars and drumming reminiscent of classic 80’s style post-punk. The vocals echo heavily in the distance; they sit at such a volume that many can hardly hear them amidst the churning fuzz of the guitar. But before you jump to the conclusion that it’s just a pile of wild fuzz proclaimed to be ‘noise music’ the band showcase their song writing abilities to the absolute maximum when they include an emotive guitar riff over the top of the aforementioned noise. This allows the song to rise from pure noise rock into the realms of dense lo-fi post-punk, with touches of the French orientated Coldwave and other dream rock elements thrown in for good measure. Up next, 'In The Night' growls into earshot with driving guitars, throbbing bass and a repetitious drum pattern before ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ ambles into frame featuring what sounds like an authentic eighties drum machine keeping the tempo high and fast, as the band show off a more alternative rock related sound. The song still yields post-punk elements underneath the wall of noise and guitars; rising higher than previous tracks, the vocals on ‘Everything Feels Like a Stab in the Heart’ sound more accessible, albeit still in a deeply alternative way.
While these two fantastically well-written songs sound as though the band have put their best foot forward first, this is all thrown out the window when ‘Through You’ begins to play. An absolutely brilliant, first class, downtrodden song of shoegaze proportions, the noisy but dreamy ‘Through You’ showcases an almost slowcore style of sound that the band present to the listener, wrapped in a second hand, dirty, style of wrapping paper. ‘Through You’ runs for six minutes and is built around the slow but intelligent drums that keep the tempo rolling and dreamy; over the top sit the bands noisy and humming guitars… But the added feature that ties the whole song together majestically is a dark and loud synth which sounds like the good-looking cousin of a train engine. Praise should also be given wholly to the fantastic bass riff that’s featured on ‘Through You’, which at times may be hard to hear, but is in fact the musical backbone of the song. Together the instruments manage to bring across a totally wild but completely exalted piece of music; fantastic.
‘White Walls’, a type of interlude, follows on and features a nice, toned down and less noise based sound. The song actually features acoustic guitar, strummed along to a dreamy bass tone and backed eerily with noise-filtered but distanced guitar and a bright soundscape. As the song picks and strums away, it leads into the bands ultimate beast; a ten minute epic called ‘Mirror’. ‘Mirror’ is a monstrous track of immensely beautiful sounds, all melded together and once again stationed around the reverb and hard sound of drums in the background that, beside the occasional fill, maintains the same pounding rhythm for the whole song. The song, in all its musical layering, is actually perhaps more upbeat than most others on the EP. What begins as the bands core (guitars, bass, drums, voice and a few other bits and pieces) playing along eventually exceeds into many sounds, instruments and soundscapes, flooding the listeners ears. ‘Mirror’ is hard to define and outline, but it stands as a brilliant piece of music recorded and presented by a group of song writing virtuosos. Much like all diverse and epic songs, I can’t really do ‘Mirror’ any justice with simple, bland and rhetorical words. You might have to just listen to it.
And there it is, Fruitless Search, an EP heavy and soft, deep but surfaced and loud but almost always beautiful. The production and mixing reflects the sounds that are evident on the release; scratchy and loud, but maintained and done so with a degree of professionalism that appears too simple to be successful. With this very thought in mind, the entire EP, the entire aesthetic of the group may be completely evident on the EPs cover; featuring a bland, awkward photograph of somebody simply standing there. This photo defies the songs that feature no real conceptual basis (in a good way) and the entire sound of the band; simple but deeply brilliant. As mentioned before the song writing is of a majestic and utterly talented quality, as are the performances and the additional sounds and synths that feature throughout.
Fruitless Search is kind of a reinforcement of the idea that there are still warriors out there producing almost completely original music; borrowed and influenced by others but always reshaped and restyled to be their own. And what, I quietly hear you ask, is that supposed to mean? All I’m saying is that many bands throw albums and EP's out, tell you how amazingly original they are and how they smell like critical acclaim when in actual fact they are bland, boring, un-educated and incorrectly referential to the music they supposedly play and are influenced by. Here, with Fruitless Search, the concept of originality in non-professional bands appears and reminds us all what can be achieved when you are actually talented. So I suppose you should probably listen to this EP… As I stated before though, this may not be for everybody, and not everybody may understand it or even try to understand it… And if you don’t, please feel free to *expletive word* off and listen to some self-proclaimed geniuses generic music. This EP is for those who appreciate song writing, context and quality of performance and sound.
Fruitless Search is available to buy/download right now on various formats from softverse.bigcartel.com & newhorror.bandcamp.com respectively.
ARTIST: The Battles Of Winter
RELEASE: At Once With Tattered Sails
RELEASE DATE: 23 September 2016
Post-Rock, Post-Punk with a bit of Alt-Rock and Indie thrown in you say? Well, 'The Battles of Winter' reply swiftly and smartly with their brand new album 'At Once With Tattered Sails'. In what could be the most well produced album I’ve heard from a non-major label in quite a while, the band weave through many sounds to create a dark and atmospheric post-punk album; helped substantially by the amazingly deep and heavy vocals of the album.
'At Once With Tattered Sails' begins with ‘Falcons’ an eerie, post-punk laden track with an intro that uses a slower tempo styled post-punk beat that eventually leads into a hypnotically dark coldwave inspired chorus. ‘Falcons’ sounds like a twisted indie song, full of elements that you could imagine being bright and colourful, turned into a cynical, industrialised landscape. This morphed indie track suits the band profusely though, and a song like ‘Falcons’ does nothing but display the bands most talented tendencies. ‘Hale Seizer’ (see what they did there?) goes even deeper into a perverse darkness, this time with much more minimalist instrumentation, until the rollicking noise rock inspired chorus. This track begins to showcase the deep and thought provoking lyrics, which would not be so out of place if they were read as poetry. The rattle, twangy guitars at the tracks second half maintain a distinctive 80’s coldwave feel, connecting the band back with its musical and artistic roots. The brilliant, two minute punky song ‘Wrong Port’ shows the listener that the band are not solely tied to slow, downtempo, strumming… Rather they show their talent in pulling off what seems to be a much darker, sped up version of an Opera Multi Steel song.
‘Hare Hunter Field’ could be the best song on the album, its slow, quiet beginning seeps into an almost slowcore ballad… The vocals hover spectrally in the mix, as the slow tap of the drum slowly shift, the guitars echo slowly with a reverb style distant in the mix and the track shifts into a heavy, noise ridden track. Everything is highlighted further through the mature and brilliant production and mixing on the album, and occasionally the band show touches of post-rock that make them sound even better with 'Death in a Lemon Grove Part I & II' & 'Shot Down Over Tokyo' being prime examples. ‘Slow Burning Country’ turns the albums sound almost completely alternative rock, but occasionally the band mix this in together with post-punk elements, especially the vocals, which maintain the same profound delivery throughout the entire album. This track highlights the fantastic capabilities of the drums as well; the heavy beat punctuating into the mix, coupling fantastically with the heavy rock of the guitars. Towards the tracks end, the vocals transcend into a higher and impressive registry that gives the music a wild element of ‘surround sound’ quality. ‘Love’s White Thread’ holds back again on instrumentation and instead uses the vocals as the forefront of the sound and the song morphs around it. Although it may appeal to some listeners, ‘Love’s White Thread’ seems less fluent than previous tracks. It also doesn’t show as much of the bands brilliant song writing skills of as other tracks. But, anyway…
‘Sainted Galleries’ is also a contender for the albums greatest song, especially in its magnificent instrumental section in its centre, which slowly and surely brings vocals into the mix. The song brings together sounds touched upon earlier in the album (coldwave and alternative rock especially) and ties it together with the rat-a-tat beat of classic 80’s post-punk, the vocals maintaining their value for the entire entrancing song. 'At Once with Tattered Sails' is not so much an album about performance (although the performances are all brilliant) rather it is an album about sounds. For the listener, the band has conjoined and crafted all sorts of majestic and dark sounds together; thus the sounds on the album come across as truly great, but it is the band who have melded them together so very well to make them even better. Nothing but praise should be handed onto the production and mixing on 'At Once with Tattered Sails', which feels empty, open and echoed all at the same time. Similarly, the vocals are genius; a reminder that post-punk and coldwave music doesn’t have to have distant and low volume yelling to be fantastic. The vocals on the album fit well with the lyrics, displaying a tasteful throwback to the eighties alternative music scene.
While some may feel the album reuses itself too much, I feel that partially that is part of the appeal of the music. For example, pop music vocal deliveries vary from song to song so the average listener thinks each song itself is completely different because of the vocals (that’s pretty much mainstream pop summarised for you). But 'Battles of Winter' maintain the same, deep and echoing voice on nearly every track, which I genuinely feel makes the music ever more powerful. The album showcases everything that should be done in the genre, and how a band should go about producing and mixing an album; achieved cleverly through performance and sound.
RELEASE: Changing Lights
RELEASE DATE: 18/05/15
RECORD COMPANY: Presto Chango Records
Changing Lights, the latest release from Labasheeda, is a prickly collection of songs that leaves the listener with a lot on their mind. The whole record is saturated with a spiky, unsettling feel a little like, maybe, Throwing Muses, with added hardcore edges. Saskia van der Giessen's vocals are affecting throughout, at times lilting and lovely. But it's when she's at her snarliest that the sparks fly.
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Opener Spiral Song, sets the angsty mood with a spare drum beat and wailing violin. The three-piece seem close to relaxing on On The Beach, with its almost (almost) slackerish vibe, but while the lyrics seem to say 'everything feels alright', there's an undercurrent that suggests this might be a bit optimistic. Tightrope is as taut as the title suggests. Instrumental Into the Wide ends the album in a woeful whirl, with the violin taking centre stage while guitars growl in the background.
Changing Lights is out now - https://labasheeda.bandcamp.com/album/changing-lights
AUTHOR: Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr
RELEASE: Out Of Your Ego
RELEASE DATE: 28/04/14
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian dreamgazers Clustersun have flitted at the periphery of my consciousness for awhile now, but after reading a positive review of their work in Big Takeover Magazine and hearing them on the now defunct Flyweight show on college station WZBC, I knew I had to check them out. They also appeared on a compilation I reviewed recently called “Revolution - The Shoegaze Revival”, where they trotted out their trippy band of post punk on a song that also opens this album called “Hipgnosis”.
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The opening bars of "Hipgnosis" wouldn’t be out of place on an early Pink Floyd album, though the vocals are uniquely Clustersun’s. “Meteors” starts off with an almost trademark ominous bass line (which I dig), but that cold wave feeling is quickly nixed by Marco Chisari’s upbeat vocals. “Be Vegetal” is a fine piece of post punk that could have been released anytime in the past 30 years, betrayed only by modern production methods. “Planar I” (is anyone sensing a space theme here?) is a long, spacey song punctuated by trippy electronics and swirling psychedelia. By the 5:30 mark, it transforms into something else altogether, a veritable sonic feast with many layers. The excellent “Nebula” sounds a lot like the great English band, Sad Lovers and Giants, at least vocally. Maybe it’s a question of mood too, as the band brandishes melancholia freely. “Floating” is also in this vein, with some very nice atmospheric guitar work. Then we have “Planar II”, which also has that English post punk vibe, guitar work sliding into Chameleons territory. The song is short but dense, and sweet in the way that good music always is. The band closes the album with the self-titled “Clustersun”, a simmering space rock instrumental. I could actually see them opening a show with this!
In any case, this album has been out for a year and the band sings solely in English and they go well beyond the sometimes limited realms of shoegaze. It’s a really cool record from a promising young band who just finished up their US tour. Let’s hope they come see us again!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.
ARTIST: On The Wane
RELEASE DATE: 19/12/14
Today is a good day after all. I’ve been screaming through a list of submissions for the blog & feeling frustrated at the general state of the musical trite that had been sent to us for potential review. I was just about to give up all hope when I came across a band who had contacted the blog a few weeks back. This band blew my mind from the very first listen to their recently released album entitled - ’Dry’. They are a truly Immense musical outfit! Well balanced, competent musicians who are not afraid to experiment with sound. Not only do they create sonically astute soundscapes through the medium of high octane shoegazing but they also breach the barriers between genre’s to produce a melodic concoction of 80’s/90’s Post-Punk, New-Wave & full on Noise-Rock. Kiev based ‘On The Wane’ are a breath of fresh air in a world of stagnant bands who jump on musical bandwagons and falsely declare themselves as post-punk shoegazers.
‘On The Wane’ were formed in 2014 in Ukraine and believe in everything 80’s & 90’s Alternative, Post-Punk, shoegazing, New-Wave, No-Wave & Noise-Rock. The band are: Anna Lyashok - drums & vocals, Daria Maksimova - bass & vocals, Eugene Voitov & Alexander Yarosevich - guitars. They like knobs turned right, dissonances, noise meditations & motoric rhythms. That’s an incredible list of influential musical genres and a bloody epic statement of intent! Strap yourselves in ..... This is extreme shoegazing at it’s very best.
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The album opens up with the mind bending ’Shelter’. Expressive soaring guitars co exist with addictive, sharp arrangements, pounding drums & a throbbing bassline. Throw into this mix of intense pulsating sound waves the enthralling vocal lines and we have something beyond brilliant. Im hooked after 2 minutes. It is that intense.
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Track 2 is a homage to all things Sub Pop. ‘Sweet Girl’ is a powerful juggernaut of a track that has everything going on in it. It powers through seconds of thundering guitars, bass & drums with an abandon. The hauntingly intensive vocal arrangements are reminiscent at times to early Lydia Lunch & Sonic Youth. They will have you transfixed on this bands complete sound. The vocals have a Post-Punk snarl that are so addictive at times you just want to melt into them and become one with the music. Stunning!
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Menacing distortion somehow filled with melodic guitar hooks announce the arrival of another astonishing track from this Ukrainian outfit. ‘Road And Snow’ continues this bands journey through the medium of soaring bass heavy guitars, pounding drums & addictive vocal tones. This is simply brilliant. Check it out:
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Track 4 begins with Punk Rock connotations stuffed menacingly between a heady mix of ‘Souxsie & The Banshees’ & the ferocity of ‘The Sex Pistols’ all intertwined with a Bauhaus infusion until the chorus explodes onto the musical canvass and streaks across the skyline in a haze of brilliantly executed guitar play. This self titled track will have you jumping around your bedroom & tormenting your neighbours with it’s intensity.
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‘Pheonix’ - Track 5 on this brilliant release, reminds me of early Loop with its intrusive, unsettling yet melodic guitar arrangements. Add into that the stomping drums, blistering bassline & swirling vocals and we have a monster on our hands. A creeping monolith of track that arc’s & swells all over the musical canvass. Sublime!
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Half way through & I’m still transfixed on this bands explosive sound. ‘1232’ growls like a ‘Pixies’ track mixed with Sub Pop brilliance from its opening notes. Again the addictive vocal tones of Lyashok & Maksimova preach malicious intent and drive this track to its final destination. The guitars on this composition are immense and together with the driving force of the base & drum tracks they make ’1232’ the beast that it is. Check it out:
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‘Love Thy neighbour’ is 2 minutes of noise-rock dipped in a punk rock stew and fed through a sonic feeding tube to an audience of waiting lunatics. This is another shining example of how ‘On The Wane’ are capable of switching genres on a whim. Not afraid to mix it up this band are entertaining me completely as every track is a new experience of musical delight.
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Track 8 - ‘Autumn’ leads you into a false sense of security with its opening light hearted drum pattern & jangling guitar lines. But don’t be fooled. This track has an explosive inner core that creeps up on you and packs a heavy punch when you least expect it. The vocals are suppressed but melodic & float along during the sublime verses but are set free with the onset of the slightly unsettling chorus’s breaks.
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‘Louder’ swirls into the musical atmosphere with hauntingly brilliant vocal arrangements & a repetitive drum pattern intertwined with reverb drenched guitars. This track reminds me of early 90’s shoegazing stalwarts & UK based - ‘The Cranes’ with its ferocious swirling guitars, hypnotising drumbeat, pulsating baseline and screaming vocals. Another stunning track.
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The closing track is a stroke of genius. ‘Joy Division’s - Noise Ceremony’ gets the complete ‘On The Wane’ treatment with full on explosive post-punk brilliance. Vocally sublime with hauntingly addictive tones & musically faultless. A great closing track on an already immense album.
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This album blew my mind . . . . . . I am not afraid to say that and to me it goes to show just how good the underground scene is right now in all four corners of this fine planet. Fans of shoegaze, post-punk & early Sub Pop artists will adore this bands complete sound. They create faultless sonic soundscapes that skip through multiple genre’s of an alternative nature with glee. ‘On The Wane’ do this for fun & its not contrived or half arsed either. I believe every single note on this epic release and so should you. Go out and support them by buying their music & go to see them live. I can’t wait to hear what comes next from this band. They truly are a wonder.
Del Chaney - Dublin 2015
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave, but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
Melbourne based 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' create a 60's sounding fuzzy psychedelic imprint that not only connect 80's atmospheric post-punk to early 90's gaze but also add a modern edge to their immense soundscapes. A love of shoegaze bands of the late 1980s to early 90s provided the catalyst for the formation of the band. Since then, members Johnny Green (guitar, vocals), Chris Donaldson (guitar), Jonny O’Hara (bass) and Nik Donaldson (drums) have sought to fuse the rhythmic underpinnings of bands like the Velvet Underground and the Stooges with the dream haze of Cocteau Twins and Slowdive. With an addictive, reverb soaked, maelstrom of layered effects and beautiful melodies their sound could grace any soundtrack of a modern day musical audience. 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' are one of our favourite bands right now & we are stoked to have interviewed them for the blog. Their latest amazing release - Escape EP is available to download from their Bandcamp Page HERE. We also reviewed it for The Primal Music Blog and you can read our thoughts on it HERE.
We new releases in the pipeline & serious attention building around the band, we caught up with them and asked them a few questions about their influences, future plans & their thoughts on shoegaze!
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1) Who are you? Tell us about the formation of the band & your history?
We are Bloodhounds On My Trail from Melbourne, Australia who practice the art form of music, writing songs, sharing experiences & falling out. In other words, we are a band. It all started pretty spontaneously with Johnny and Nik jamming on a few ideas that I had on a loop pedal. Johnny was listening to a lot of Jesus and Mary Chain at the time and that really inspired him to start a new band. Once they had worked out a few songs (incl 'She's In My Plans') Chris was asked to come check out what they were doing with it in mind to have him join as another guitarist since two guitarists could create a big sound. After hearing what the then duo had created Chris was immediately impressed and keen to contribute to what they were creating. After some practices as a trio a good friend Jonny O'Hara was recruited on bass who appeared on Escape EP. Shortly after the release of that EP O'Hara parted ways & Che (of Miniatures) threw his hat in the ring to punch out the 4 stringer. A brief history for a band that has only been around for just over a year.
2) Who are your biggest influences?
We focus heavy on the song writing aspect & find influence comes more from life & experiences than just music. We don't ever decide we like a particular tune so we try to do one like it. Its more the fact that tunes are written that capture a particular mood musically & have a particular content lyrically. Influence on writing a song comes from conscious thought that's decided by what happens to & around us or to an individual and the music is a subconscious influences based on the music we enjoy to listen to. As the music aspect goes, as a band we are into a wide range of music (anything from late 80s, early 90's UK/US stuff to Rockabilly to Punk) and we really dig that. It helps in keeping the ideas interesting and exciting. We collaborate and flesh out a lot of songs from a basic idea Johnny or Chris bring to the table and it's really cool when you leave rehearsal with a song that has taken a direction that you didn't see coming... Those are the songs that give us a buzz.
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3) Describe your sound?
Underneath it all we hope our song writing comes through followed by a big sound sonically. We are always trying to keep tunes very much together in terms of the instrumentation so we can have a thick blanket of sound. Maybe think of drone sounding guitars where the bass denotes chord changes & a most solid of beats. Add to that some JAMC inspired riffs melodies that are emotive.
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4) What inspired you to start making music?
It's best when it's more in your blood than a particular moment when you decide to make music. Sure there are turning points that may make you do something because it inspired you but music had always been a big part of growing up for all of us so it's just been a natural step from the beginning. Like Johnny got into a lot of bands (The Smiths, The clash, The White Stripes, The Beach Boys...all the good stuff) from the vinyl his Dad played from the lounge room. Wasn't something consciously thought about, just loved hearing new bands and new songs so figured why not learn guitar and start a band. The brothers (Nik & Chris), like Che as well grew up with a musical parents so nature + nurture will always win.
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5) What do you love about shoegaze?
The music itself just hits the right chord with all of us. Never really thought about it. Just heard and loved it immediately. Also the "scene" is a great community really. All supportive. The way it always has been really. It's niche. Niche people always get each other more.
6) Why is it important for the world to hear your music? What kind of message would you like to share with international listeners?
Because like bands that we love, be that local or international, everyone can bring something great. We like to think that people could be getting a good buzz of hearing our music just like when anyone listen to anything that they enjoy. As for a message... Escape?
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7) What are some of your favorite bands or albums?
We wanna take this question to plug some Roogaze (Australian Shoegaze) that we love (no particular order of course): Lowtide, Contrast, Miniatures, Hideous Towns, Flyying Colours, Blush Response, Luna Ghost, Kigo, Lunaire, Roku Music, Fait. So many. Probably missed some!
8) Musically, what are your bands plans over the next year?
Been writing a lot of new songs recently and plan to release a couple of singles in this year followed by an EP. We have just finished recording a cover of a ''Dreams Burn Down" by gaze fav's Ride for a Ride tribute compilation that is available on 'the blog that celebrates itself' bandcamp - check it out! Other than that, play more shows locally, around Australia and internationally perhaps!
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ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER:
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave, but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm The Primal Radio Show has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. He also currently writes for Canadian based online music webzine ReplicantEars. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
Release: Shades of Sadness And Sorrow
Release Date: 03/03/15
Record Company: Patetico Recordings
Hailing from Philadelphia, Stellarscope bring a high octane, super charged sonic sound to the underground post-punk, shoegaze infused musical table. With numerous releases under their belt & firmly stabled to the amazing independent record label 'Patetico Recordings', Philadelphia's finest, Stellarscope, are the forerunners to the massive underground post-punk/shoegaze scene that has graced the modern day City of Brotherly Love. Stellarscope are a well structured band, with experience behind them to take on new directions and challenges whilst retaining the core of their output. They craft psychedelia, onto tightly constructed rock songs, which take them into completely new & unheard of before musical landscapes, thus in turn, creating new musical sub-cultures! Stellarscope’s energetic live performances has garnered the band serious accolades from peers, as well as fans. They are made up of: Tom Lugo - Vocals, Guitars, Bass & Bob Forman on Drums. Their latest album entitled 'Shades Of Sadness And Sorrow' gets it's official release on 03/03/15 on 'Patetico Recordings'.
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Stellarscope are a staple of the indie rock scene with their unique brand of post-punk indie rock. Their music is dark and emotive yet it still has a pop sensibility to it. Stellarscope’s energetic live performances has garnered the band accolades from their peers as well as their fans. With multiple releases under their belts they continue to march forward and evolve with the times. Their music has appeared in many compilations and tribute albums, documentaries as well as on MTV, A&E, Discovery Channel, Alli Sports TV, and more. For fans of Joy Formidable, Silversun Pickups, Wavves, A Place to Bury Strangers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Joy Division, Interpol & Ramones. Below are a few of our favourite tracks taken from this Immense release.
With an energetic swagger, the very distinct vocal tones of 'Tom Lugo' herald the arrival of a behemoth. The opening track on 'Shades of Sadness And Sorrow', entitled 'Dug This Hole', pulsates with post-punk anger & noise-pop swirls. It's a full on whirlwind of aggression & angst with addictive guitar lines & thundering drums. Check it out:
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Hints of shoegaze effected guitars introduce us to the second track on this latest 'Stellarscope' release, but don't be fooled! 'Never Hated Like This' remind's me of very early, debut album, 'Nine Inch Nails' but with a modern day twist. This track also ventures into Trent Reznor territory lyrically too, with Lugo again expressing his anger at the world. This is gripping stuff. Go check it out:
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A full on wall of sound greet's us on track 3. 'Living In A Haze' explores Stellarscope's old-school gazing side with an immense slow burner of a track that explodes on the chorus's whilst introducing quieter moments throughout it's verses - Yeah, I did say "Quieter Moments", but this is Stellarscope after all, so their "Quieter Moments" would still register on the richter scale!! This is a stunning track & probably my favourite on the whole album.
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You can listen to any track on this album and still get a feel for what it is that Stellarscope are trying to achieve. Their angst ridden assault on your earholes are designed to heighten your senses & shake your inner core. Take a listen to the three tracks above again & then listen to 'Farewell, Eat Your Heart Out, Broken To Pieces, Ocean Of Storms, It's All Gone, Soul Disturbance' & the brilliant 'Face First In The Dirt' to hear exactly what I mean. 'Stellarscope' continue to release relevant, pioneering & awe inspiring music, not only for todays bands to follow but also for future bands to get influenced by & in turn start the process of creating their own brand of music all over again.
Del Chaney - The Primal Music Blog - February 2015 - Dublin, Ireland.
Find out more info about Stellarscope by following the links below:
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo 'Analogue Wave', but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Noise-Rock & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm, 'The Primal Radio Show', has gained considerable respect from band’s and promoter’s alike since it’s conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he's passionate about. He also currently write's for Canadian based online music webzine www.ReplicantEars.com. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.